Life
    Culture

     Word of the week: net zero

    14 February 2020

    [ Net zeer-oh ]

    The state in which no carbon dioxide is produced as a result of human activity.

    Derivation:

    In 2019, the term ‘Net Carbon Zero’ became the rallying cry of the United Nations, the European Commission, Extinction Rebellion protestors and political leaders across the Western world. World leaders have actively competed with each other to name the nearest date by which net zero should be enacted and have agreed that the practical implications of living in a world without fossil fuels are an afterthought.

    Politicians embrace net zero in order to apologise on behalf of their electorates, whose reliance on petrol and coal are an embarrassment at Davos. Companies agree that declaring an ambitious net zero target can generate publicity.

    The rapid endorsement of net zero means that the current methods used by the public for heating and cooking and getting to work will now be replaced by something else. The exact nature of this ‘something else’ remains unspecified.

    Statistical analysis has identified a direct correlation between a politician’s embrace of ‘Net Carbon Zero’ and their inability to consider practical matters in everyday life. Contributory factors are believed to include “bandwagon jumping” and “gullibility when seeing the word Green”.

    Furthermore, there is an inverse correlation between the date at which someone wishes to see Net Carbon Zero enacted – 2050, 2030, 2025 – and their proximity to what experts describe as “the real world”.

    Use:

    “Although China is currently building a further 350 coal-fired power stations, Oxford is going Net Carbon Zero by Christmas.”